Frontier General Store




Rainy Day and Night



Bobbie climbs up to the portion of the loft that she shares with her daughter. It is mostly feather bed on top of a wood and rope frame. Taking off her shoes and tucking them under the bed she sits down on it and starts folding the clothes off the line. Laura leaves the milk to sit for a while so that the cream will rise to the top. Cream that would be churned tomorrow along with the last few days gathers into butter after it had soured abit. Lucky sets up the checkerboard and starts entertaining his little sister. Carly settles herself in on the plank covered earth shelf behind the table and pouts. There was no way she could go agathering and meet up with Jason now.

Down at the Taggart homestead, Marcus and his mom made it into the cabin in plenty of time. Marcus stands in the doorway for a bit watching the rain coming down. He turns away at his mother's question. "How were the Hardy girls?"

"Seemed to be fine." Marcus shrugs. "Got the roof fixed just in time." Their ten by ten cabin is snug. He'd already put sod across the planked roof to fill any gaps. Wondering what to do with himself, he looks at what will be his mother's kitchen once the woodstove arrives from town. Getting out his woodworking tools, he starts planing boards that he'd roughed out as he had time with everything else. Maybe he could get a few shelves up or something. Putting the log on top of two large barrels he clamps it down and sets to work.

Florence puts off lighting the oil lamp for as long as she can wanting to save the precious fuel. Sitting near the open door, she starts on the chore that always got put off until it was raining or dark-- mending.

At the Hardy Cabin, Liz sighs as she looks out the window at the pouring rain. "Dontcha just wish God would send ya a telegram a day in advance? Rain tomorrow... don't bother to haul water."

Sarah laughs. "Considering the nearest telegram station is three days away, it still wouldn't do us much good."

Elizabeth rolls her eyes. Sarah is always so literal. Then she goes to her stash of supplies and starts working on her grandmother's birthday present, a cable knit sweater. She'd bought the yarn back in New York and had hauled it all across country but could only work on the sweater when Audrey wasn't around. And Audrey is always around. Yarn and knitting is her thing. She couldn't sew a straight seam to save her life, no matter how many times Sarah and Gram tried to coach her. Everything always had to be ripped out anyway which is a waste of thread and time. Gram had given up finally and decided to be happy with Liz's skills with a different set of needles.

Sarah meanwhile takes the empty feed and supply bags, she cuts and rips out seams that she doesn't want and starts fashioning them into smaller bags suitable for toting things, or storage, or even stuffing with feathers for pillows. The two best bags, the ones the flour had come in, she sets aside to make curtains for the cabin. Nothing would go to waste. Since once Liz started knitting nothing would distract her, not even if the cabin was on fire, Sarah also minds the stove and their dinner cooking both on it and in it.

Out on the trail, while Zander is just mentally cursing, Luke is coloring the sky blue and making no apologies for it. It was just too much to ask for dry weather on the way back when they were loaded down with supplies, hauling livestock and starting to get dark. When the rain gets too heavy, Zander pulls over to a wide level spot on the trail. "We're stopping here. It's too dangerous to continue."

Luke pulls his wagon along side. "So much for making good time. We're done for the night." He says disgustedly. "Let's rig a tarp between the two wagons and call it done. We'll roll out at daybreak and try and make up the time."

"I'll take care of the stock." Gia wraps her coat tighter around her and pulls her wide brimmed hat down even further before jumping down onto the wet slippery grass. She checks on the sow in the back of Luke's wagon first, feeding and watering it and making sure everything is fine. Then she unfastens the rope of the goat from the back of the wagon, and walks it out into the field. The sheep follow right along with the goat.

She stands out in the rain with them for about a half an hour while they crop grass. When she can't take it anymore she leads the goat back to the back of the wagon and ties her up to the back of the wagon with enough room for the goat to lay down if needed. Then she slides under the tarp that is extended between the two wagons. Audrey has already rolled out a bedroll for her and shivering Gia sheds her coat and her shoes and slides into the bedroll still wearing her clothes.





The next morning the crew on the road is the first to wake even before the chickens that are cooped in the back of Luke's wagon. Gia puts back on her boots grimacing at the wet leather. She yawns but goes to the back and walks the goats and sheep again. Tying them back up to the side of the wagon she then slides a board up to the bed of the wagon and unlocks the wooden pen of the pig and takes the sow out for a walk in the rain.

The sow is fat with piglets with her teats dragging on the ground and not happy with the process of moving. "I don't see what you're complaining about..." Gia tells the pig. "...The sheep are walking behind the wagon! You'd have had those little piggy's for sure long before we get to your new home." The pig snorts at Gia and starts pushing at the wet earth with it's snout. "And I am so going to get stuck cleaning out the back of the Spencer's wagon. The only people who are going to be happy to see you are Marcus and Mama!"

Two days away in the Hardy Cabin, Sarah's eyes pop open. They'd gone to bed early the night before as soon as dinner was done. The rain was keeping them in and had kept up all night, which made it only good for sleeping. Goodness knows, She and Liz had worn out conversation already. They were living in each other's pockets. What one knew the other already knew too. Yawning, Sarah climbs down from the loft dressed only in her chemise, She grabs a couple of pieces of firewood and stokes up the woodstove.

First things first, she puts the kettle on for tea and then goes over to the front window of the cabin. It is just starting to get light but it doesn't matter since the rain is still pouring down, steady and soaking. Lizzie might as well sleep until it was time to go out to deal with the cow. They weren't going anywhere today. Liz comes up behind her. "This is going to slow Gram down."

"Probably." Sarah agrees glumly. "It doesn't look like it's going to let up."

"I might as well go milk and feed the cow." Liz says reluctantly. She puts on her coat and hat and then hesitates as contemplates going out, taking a deep breath and grabbing the pail she steps out into the rain and starts running, laughing when she almost slips and falls.

Up at the Taggart place, Marcus is already up and at the milking, efficiently stripping the cow of her burden. After making sure all the stock is fed and checking for a few eggs in the coop. Taggart pockets the couple of eggs he finds hauls the milk into the house for his mother. He leaves the eggs sitting in a cloth lined basket hanging in what will be his mother's kitchen.

Florence comes in from the fire, hauling the coffee pot in her potholder protected hand. "Coffee is on." She sets the pot down and reaches for two mugs. She pours them both and adds a little bit of the fresh milk to her own. Handing her son his cup they stand in the open door and watch the rain come down in a companionable silence.

At the Spencer place, just about everyone is getting wet. Laura is out tending the fire and making a breakfast. Carly is tending the cow and checking the chickens. Lucky is down by the river in the cold box pulling out the collected cream for the last few days. As soon as the cream warmed up a bit in the cabin, Lulu would start the churning process. When she got tired and starts slowing down then either Bobbie or Laura would take over. Churning butter if everything went right would take about half an hour but sometimes it could take a couple of hours to bring all the butter out of the cream. As soon as Lucky returns to the cabin, he tells his Aunt Bobbie. "I'm going to go up to Zander's place and check the chickens."

"I'm sure your mom will have breakfast ready when you get back." Lucky nods and heads down to the corral to get the horse saddled.

Up at the Cassadine place, Nikolas wanders around bored. The rain had put plans on hold to go out hunting. Hunting in the rain was too easy. All they had to do was find a sheltered place in the valley and there would probably be a herd of elk there doing their best to stay out of the weather. Natasha finally slams her book shut. "Really Nikolas, your pacing is making me tired. Can you not do something productive? Write a letter or something? Your demeanor has been less than pleasing for the last few days."

"I'm bored."

"That is obvious. But it doesn't explain why you've been so sour for the last few days."

"His companion down the valley went into town." Stefan looks up from his own book. "And while the companion is unsuitable, he managed before he left to keep Nikolas entertained with the novelties of the peasants homesteading. Tell us, Nikolas, what would Mr. Smith be doing on such a day?"

Nikolas shrugs. "Probably checking his traps. Zander checks his traps everyday."

"You are excused."


"Go. Go check Mr. Smith's traps." Stefan waves off his nephew. "I'm sure that Mr. Smith will appreciate your assistance and your aunt will appreciate your absence. Have Mrs. Lansbury prepare you a meal to take with you and be back before dark."

Nikolas grabs his gear before his uncle can change his mind. A guy could only play so many games of chess before going crazy.


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